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  1. #1
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    Aug. 17, 2010
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    Default Part-time law school while working full-time?

    I'm thinking of going back to school and working towards my law degree. I work full-time, have a husband and horse, but no kids. Advice? Experiences? I think I'd just like some reassurance that it's possible to have some semblence of a life. I do have a semi-flexible job that will allow some study time.



  2. #2
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    I considered doing it a few years ago but gave up on the idea because: 1) I couldn't tailor the classes to meet my schedule - don't know if that is the case with the school you are considering 2) job market was awful and I couldn't justify the expense of law school. It's only gotten worse since then:

    Bad news for law schools

    If you have a good-paying job waiting for you and you don't have to pay for law school, go for it. Otherwise, think twice. I hated giving up the idea because I was truly interested in practicing, but I couldn't make the time/$$ investment work.



  3. #3
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    Jul. 13, 2011
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    Don't do it! Job market for law grads is worse than horrible and likely to stay that way for years and years. Student loan debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Law school is really, really difficult. (I passed the bar in 2003). And, finally, there are many better ways to earn a living. I lucked out and have the best job in the world and would never, ever go back to the private practice of law no matter what the paycheck was.
    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!



  4. #4
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    Oh no...... Well I'm already established in a career where a law degree would really help further it (I'm in legal and compliance with a large investment firm) and that provides some tuition reimbursement.



  5. #5
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    May. 9, 2001
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    Would the law degree benefit you in your current career path? Or would you be starting out as a new lawyer once graduated? If this was more for professional development and advancement, I would say that it will be expensive and difficult, but could pay off in the long run.

    If you will be leaving your current profession, I would say that it isn't worth it. My husband went to law school after he already had a graduate degree and a lot of government and regulatory experience. It was a logical step for his own career advancement. He has law school classmates that 4-5 years post-graduation are still unemployed, or working at the mall, or managed to get a job totally unrelated to law just so they could pay their living expenses and unbelievable student debt. Several classmates couldn't pass the bar and basically have a useless degree.

    This is one occupation that I would think long and hard about before pursuing. Graduates at the community college I work at have better job prospects and higher paychecks with an associates degree compared to many lawyers I know, as well as a fraction of the debt if any.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MYalterID View Post
    Oh no...... Well I'm already established in a career where a law degree would really help further it (I'm in legal and compliance with a large investment firm) and that provides some tuition reimbursement.
    Well, in that case I would give the idea some serious consideration. And if you are already established in the workforce then the absolutely staggering amount of work won't come as much of a shock as it did to folks just out of undergrad. I was 10 years older than the rest of my class was. I actually loved law school but I went full time and did not work. And was single. I know a woman (graduated first in my class) who did work, have a husband, and two kids. Absolutely phenomenal undertaking, IMHO. Just be prepared to have absolutely NO social life, you will be studying all the time. Your husband basically has to be a saint to help get you both through it.
    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!



  7. #7
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    ... double post, and I replied while you replied, so there.

    We are one of the only couples that are still married (to each other) post-law school from my husband's class. So many relationships ended because of the strain. We made it because I was getting my doctorate. We supported each other because we knew the tribulations the other person was facing in some way.

    We were both miserable, cranky, stressed out people (we probably still are!). No vacations, no fun weekends, no nothing for years. If we weren't in school at the same time, I'm not sure either one of us would have put up with the other person, the time commitments, and the finances.



  8. #8
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    Jul. 14, 2003
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    I went to a law school (Suffolk University School of Law) that also had a 4 year night program. It seemed to me as though the course work was somewhat less onerous for the night students in addition to taking a smaller course load. That being said, law school is a grind. You can do it in a night program, but I doubt that you will get much riding in, at least for the first couple of years.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



  9. #9
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    Apr. 28, 2008
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    If you want some reassurance that you will maintain some semblance of a life (i.e. see and ride the horse regularly), I'd advise against it. And this is from someone who loves being an attorney.

    As a side issue -- depending on your current job, it might not work out very well to go to law school "within the ranks" and hope to be happy switching to an attorney position within your firm. I have no I-banking experience but I know several paralegals who went to law school and came back to the firm they worked at as a paralegal, or did night school and transitioned "up." They had to switch firms to get attorney work and respect. They told me that if people are used to you as a paralegal, it is hard for them to change and start treating you like an attorney. You still get paralegal jobs/less responsibility because they are still operating on the old mindset. I don't know how true this is, but I have heard it from several different friends who lived it and wanted to toss that out there as something to think about. Have other people within your organization done this successfully? Have they had any problems? If you can, talk to them frankly about the experience.



  10. #10
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    Sep. 16, 2008
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    As others have said, if you have a job lined up and it will make your career much more lucrative then go for it. If not it is a huge waste of money. Law jobs are hard to come by and many pay less then what you would make otherwise. I have a law degree and have passed 3 state bars. I do not feel like it was a good investment (and I have a decent job).
    Impossible is nothing.



  11. #11
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    My old roommate did law school full time, worked PT in a law firm. She did quite well that way but I have to tell you, she graduated 2 years ago and still doesn't have a law related job. I'm so frustrated for her because she's SO bright.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  12. #12
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    Sep. 10, 2008
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    Agree with what everyone else has said. If I had to do it over, I'm not sure I would have gone to law school.



  13. #13
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    Aug. 17, 2010
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    Thanks for the feedback! Lots to consider!! Any good experiences?



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MYalterID View Post
    Thanks for the feedback! Lots to consider!! Any good experiences?
    I did my first year at Suffolk Law School, Evening Division, in Boston. I was on Active Duty in the Navy in Rhode Island at the time. It was a challenge but it was worth it. You meet a nice class of people in night school!

    I finished up at Marquette in Milwaukee full time. Full time is, in many ways, a lot less stressful. But I'm not sure which I liked better.

    If you do this you can kiss a bunch of riding time "goodbye." But it might buy a you a lot more in the future.

    Good luck in whatever you decide.

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão



  15. #15
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    Oct. 22, 2001
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    Unless you are getting into a really top law school, or can assure yourself that you're getting through with little to no debt, and/or have a near-guaranteed job path lined up for which a law degree will make a substantive material benefit, I'd say pass.

    Look, I love practicing law and I am generally pretty psyched that I get to work with the people I do on the issues that are on my docket, and still for the most part have time to ride 3-4 times/week and have a decent social life. But I wouldn't kid myself that this is necessarily normal for lawyers, or that it's likely for someone just coming through today. As others have said, the legal market has crashed. Where once most big firms were throwing free meals and concert tickets at law students simply for the privilege of hiring them at 165K/year, now most firms have substantially cut their entering classes, restricted who they are hiring to the very top of the best schools, and applying stricter standards to junior associates when they get there. It's harder to get in, harder to stay, and nearly impossible to make partner at any of the big firms. Even at the next tier down, the law firms have the ability to be more picky, often hiring former partners or passed over senior associates from the elite firms rather than Joe-Average-Lawyer. In-house jobs or government? Hah. It's not unusual to see several hundred resumes from very experienced attorneys for a run of the mill in-house position; govt folks are seeing the same if not more for DOJ jobs and even for some general state and county lawyers.

    There are simply too many lawyers out there for the available jobs; and most of them have way too much debt to be sustainable. Unless you've got special skills or a particular reason that makes you unique and hireable (and I mean skills that will add value right away to your employer, not just that you're a special snowflake who will work really really hard), it's just not an encouraging market to be entering.

    Above the Law is a legal website (www.abovethelaw.com) that, although it can get a little pulpy, does a decent job of cataloging the employment data for folks coming out of law school. Ain't pretty. For folks at second and third tier schools, it's worse, and for those at places that are barely a step above the (fictional) Southwest Saginaw School of Law but still charge full price? Well, if you're looking for an avenue to pour money down the drain, I'd stick with horses over going to one of those schools.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
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    Jul. 19, 2007
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    Michigan
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by oliverreed View Post
    Well, in that case I would give the idea some serious consideration. And if you are already established in the workforce then the absolutely staggering amount of work won't come as much of a shock as it did to folks just out of undergrad. I was 10 years older than the rest of my class was. I actually loved law school but I went full time and did not work. And was single. I know a woman (graduated first in my class) who did work, have a husband, and two kids. Absolutely phenomenal undertaking, IMHO. Just be prepared to have absolutely NO social life, you will be studying all the time. Your husband basically has to be a saint to help get you both through it.
    I agree. My father did a law degree while working as an automotive engineer. My parents hadn't had kids yet, Mom was still working, so besides it being time-consuming, it was doable. If it'll help your career, especially if you can get some reimbursement, and you WANT to do it, go for it.



  17. #17
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    Sep. 13, 2006
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    Thumbs down

    Just kind of on topic as Ive never worked FT @ anything while doing school kids & horses.

    Cousin is in 3rd year undergrad clerking @ law firm, wants to go military after grad. Asked aunt if he is thinking law school (JAG or something) she said no it wouldnt pay. He could go to law school for next to 0 cause he can live @ home & aunt teaches at school. So if he cant make it work $ wise Id be afraid very afraid.
    “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker



  18. #18
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    Oct. 12, 2005
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    My DH is currently in his last semester of Law School. He has done night school and worked full time for the past four years. Because of this decision, he was able to get a job early on during law school and work his way up in the company. He now has a job offer as an associate at the firm where he is currently working. He KNOWS how lucky he is, but to be honest, the past four years haven't been easy.

    He was gone from 6-9pm M-Th and often studying and reading on weekends. It has meant that we haven't vacationed for the past four years (with the exception of a honeymoon for our wedding that was planned around Law School). I was able to throw myself into spending time with my horse, which made me more okay with being abandoned so much. I also was going through my first years of teaching, so the timing was good for me obsessing over that as well.

    One thing that made us successful (when Law School is apparently a killer for relationships) is that he was able to work hard and play hard. When we had weekends free, we made the most of it.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by costco_muffins View Post
    One thing that made us successful (when Law School is apparently a killer for relationships) is that he was able to work hard and play hard. When we had weekends free, we made the most of it.
    This approach will serve him well during his career! People who can embrace this approach seem to be the happiest lawyers. I am totally this kind of person and I enjoy practicing. My DH needs more downtime and he is much happier as an academic.

    Congrats on his impending graduation. It took a lot of work from both of you!



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